Thursday, October 6

Government and autonomies want to prevent losses due to covid from slowing down the economy

Almost 17,000 new infections in Madrid, about 11,000 in Andalusia, close to 5,000 in the Canary Islands, 2,000 in Castilla y León, another 2,000 in the Balearic Islands, about 1,300 more in Aragon, around 1,000 more in Galicia. All these figures have constituted this Wednesday pandemic record. Ómicron is unstoppable.

If those numbers are added generically, which concern seven autonomous communities, the result is more than 39,000 people forced to be isolated in their homes for ten days. But if we stop at the global data provided by the Ministry of Health, the figure rises to a chilling 100,706 people. People who, if they have work, will not be able to go to their positions because they must keep isolation at their homes. Add up the 100,000 cases on Wednesday, the expected 100,000 on this Thursday and the more than 100,000 on Friday, according to the omicron trend. In three days, more than 300,000 people who will not attend their jobs during the next week.

The growth curve of Covid in Spain is already a wall and its ceiling is not visible. Government sources acknowledge that hard weeks await, not because of the seriousness of the cases, but because of the quantity.

With such a panorama, the consequences in the economic fabric and in the workplace are evident and experts have alerted several regional presidents and the President of the Government himself, regional sources and the Executive have informed El Periódico de España. Pedro Sánchez, in a press conference called to say that Spain is well directed at this “crucial moment”, avoided anticipating the proposal that the Public Health Commission would make official hours later: reduce periods of isolation or quarantine after infection, which will go from ten days to seven.

He did emphasize that the decisions adopted by its Executive will be based on three pillars: the protection of the health of citizens, the preservation of mental health and economic growth.

By having these three factors on the board, Sánchez can see that the incidence of the omicron variant in Spain is brutal; social fatigue, increasingly accentuated and exacerbated, as the latest study by the Center for Sociological Research has shown; and growing economic uncertainty. At the press conference held at the Moncloa Palace, he acknowledged that the economic forecasts that will be published in the coming days will show “upward and downward estimates” due “to the extraordinary uncertainty of the global economy.”

Then, the president has listed some measures activated by his Government to dodge the worst omens, which in his opinion have been successful. He has spoken of ERTEs, ICO credits and other “income policies”. However, socialist sources admit that the incidence of omicron forces strategic changes. A week ago, the mandatory nature of outdoor masks returned; now is the time of quarantines. The first sought to provide sanitary certainties; the second pursues another objective.

The central and regional administrations, through the Public Health Commission and the Interterritorial Health Council, have agreed to reduce the period of isolation because if so many people do not go to work, essential services and productive sectors are in danger, and doubts about the future will be more imposing.

Fear of absenteeism

A source from an autonomous presidency indicates to this medium that the experts with whom the management of the pandemic is consulted have warned of the labor consequences that so many people infected can generate. How is it about seek a balance between public health and economic vigorThese same experts, although with provisional data, have verified that the omicron variant of the coronavirus makes a dent in the body for less time, about three days, and therefore, reduces its contagion power. In addition, the percentage of asymptomatic patients that are computed as positive cases is high, which portrays a not-so-aggressive variant of the coronavirus. Consequently: home quarantine calls can last up to a week.

It is a measure that the governments of Madrid and Andalusia advocated, knowing that the wounds that the omicron could cause in the economy are to be taken into account. The two communities, before the meeting of the Public Health Commission, Galicia joined. Its president, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has referred to what was then a more than plausible option, in light of the events: “It seems appropriate to raise this matter and with scientific and epidemiological criteria make that decision. If we can spend seven days in quarantine we should not be ten “.

The Galician leader has highlighted the economic component of the measure, and has put numbers by way of example to illustrate the scope of what he was defending: if the 100,000 infected on Tuesday must be without work for ten days, the administrations must review the channel through which they are trying to carry the pandemic.

A source from the environment of a Feijóo counterpart has expressed himself thus, in consultation with El Periódico de España: “There is fear of high absenteeism in basic sectors “.

Almost 90 drivers on sick leave in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia

The unions do not hide their concern about the possibility that infections will continue to increase, and they assure that, for now, no specific measures are being taken to protect workers or limit user capacity, except in some very specific services.

According to CCOO, neither in the fire brigade, nor in the local and regional police, nor in the air sector, nor in Education nor in the General State Administration, there is at the moment any indication that initiatives in this regard are being prepared. Yes, some have been adopted in the railway sector, with reduced presence and an increase in teleworking in the positions where it is possible. The latest Renfe data, they add in the union, they point to 43 drivers on sick leave due to Covid or close contact in Madrid, 30 in Barcelona and a dozen in Valencia.

All, while in some sensitive sectors a notable increase in coronavirus cases is being detected: “Two weeks ago, the Commission for the prevention of occupational risks of the Madrid Police Headquarters it presented figures that showed that the rate of contagion among National Police officers in the community triples that of civil society ”, explains Víctor Duque, secretary general of the Federal Police Union. “There are many casualties, but at the moment, as they are dates in which there are no great needs for deployment, it can work if in a district -for example- instead of four cars there are two,” he adds.

The Head of Education at UGT, Maribel Loranca, for her part, regrets that opportunities have been lost to adopt measures with time to face the back to school after the holidays, as of January 10: “the Conference of Presidents on the 22nd could have addressed the situation of educational centers, taking into account that the school-age population is the one with the highest incidence rate” , he assures.

Exhaustion and fear

On December 3, when the incidence of omicron was shy compared to what it is now, the Alert Report, a technical body that advises the Ministry of Health and the regional councils of the branch, mentioned “pandemic fatigue” as one of the essential aspects to take into account before making decisions about possible restrictions, especially on dates prior to the celebrations relatives. That allusion disappeared from the document that the same Panel finalized ten days later.

Likewise, both Sánchez and the regional presidents, when they met in the Senate a week ago, recognized that the fatigue of the population, his satiety Faced with the constant company of the coronavirus, it influenced their management, and this was admitted by some in public. In the balance between the protection of health, the mental health of citizens and economic growth, precisely those three elements that Sánchez listed in the press conference on Wednesday, the second begins to play a more relevant role.

Related news

The Center for Sociological Research (CIS) has published this Wednesday a study entitled “Effects and consequences of the coronavirus” in which that perception of the leaders, that which anyone notices in conversations with their relatives and friends, is represented in percentages.

According to the data collected by Efe from this sample, which is nourished by more than 2,400 interviews, 55% of citizens consider that their life is “little or almost nothing” by the pandemic and 40.2% that they assure that the situation created by covid-19 it has impacted him “a lot or a lot”. Likewise, 71.5% acknowledge that they have felt restless when having to limit contacts, 50.4% fear of losing their job, 41.1% fear of not being able to meet their usual expenses and 58%, not to recover the life before the Covid.

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